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Stanback and Fairfax roll

UCLA-bound forward's 35 points lead Lions past Westchester, 77-44, in Division I regional final.

March 18, 2007|Eric Sondheimer | Times Staff Writer

As Chace Stanback made shot after shot at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on Saturday night in the Southern California Regional Division I boys' championship basketball game, he left little doubt how much he enjoys playing on his future college court.

"It's my new home," the 6-foot-8 Stanback said after making five of eight three-point shots and finishing with 35 points and 10 rebounds as City Section champion Los Angeles Fairfax defeated its Western League rival Westchester for the fourth time this season, 77-44, earning a trip to Saturday's state Division I final in Sacramento.

Stanback, who signed with UCLA in November, connected on his first six shots of the second half to ignite Fairfax (27-5), which turned a five-point halftime lead into a 23-point advantage at the start of the fourth quarter.

"He basically kicked our butts," Westchester Coach Ed Azzam said. "Whatever we tried didn't work."

Stanback looked at ease and in total control from the opening seconds, when he made his first three-point shot. By the end of the first quarter, after swishing a three-pointer from the top of the key, he turned and raised his fist in a signal of exhilaration.

"He was unbelievable, but to me, I see it every day," Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani said. "There's so much upside, and I know how good he's going to be. This is nothing."

Westchester (26-7) came out trying different strategies in hopes of disrupting the Lions. The Comets used a full-court press, a half-court zone trap and occasional double teams on Stanback. But Fairfax got contributions from its improving supporting cast and took care of the basketball, making only seven turnovers.

"They matched our intensity and played harder," Azzam said.

Ja'Shon Hampton had nine points and five assists for Fairfax. Chris Solomon scored nine points. Lance Bailey, a sophomore reserve, scored 10 points, making all five of his shots.

"We knew other guys would have to step up because we had to score," Kitani said.

Fairfax will play Oakland McClymonds (28-3) in the 8 p.m. Division I final at the Arco Arena. The Lions last won the state title in 2004.

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